A company website is one of the most important assets of a new business whatever industry you're venturing into. Your website will become your online home, a space to illustrate exactly what you do, how you can help potential customers, and a place to start setting yourself apart from your competitors.
With a professional and attractive company website being so important, it’s worth considering what you’ll need from your site while working on your business plan. As soon as you have a business name in mind, check available domain names. If your desired company name isn’t available as a web-address it’s seriously worth reconsidering, to eliminate the risk of losing traffic to irrelevant URLs.
Once you’ve got your domain sorted, launching a website is surprisingly straight-forward - Here’s how to get started:
Hosting is the provision of a server to ‘host’ your website, essentially the cabinet in which your website will be kept while live. There are various hosting packages available to meet both personal and business needs, all with different storage options and security features. Think carefully about what your website will require. For example: will it be home to high-quality imagery, or will it be largely text based? This will affect the amount of storage space needed.
Choose a web platform
The advent of numerous user-friendly web platforms means it’s no longer essential to have a web developer on board when launching a new site. Popular services include: Wordpress, Weebly, Moonfruit and Shopify.
Of course, while these DIY options do save on precious start-up cash, building your own website can be time consuming and frustrating - especially if you are not design inclined. The internet is awash with businesses ready to help with web design, using graphic designers and skilled coders. Prices start from as little as one hundred pounds but can reach as much as several thousand.
Consider search engine optimisation (SEO)
Unfortunately, launching a website does not guarantee web traffic (ie, people finding your new business online) - it takes a lot of hard work and, this should include ‘SEO’. Search engine optimisation is a complex process but the basics involve making your content relevant to the keywords potential customers will be using when searching for your products and services. This is an area that will really benefit from professional input.
Develop a content plan
What will be on your website? Will there be ongoing content and frequent updates? If so, planning this in advance is essential. Developing a plan for your content also allows you time for input/proofreading of your important web pages (such as ‘About Us’, ‘Services’ etc). Other content to plan in advance could include: blog posts, offers and social media content.
Connect social media
A thriving company website is well-connected with social media networks. You probably already use Facebook and Twitter for personal use, but think about engaging potential customers via social networking too. Make sure your website features prominent buttons directing visitors to your business social profiles.